The NFL is a rugged game of violence, but the biggest NFL shockers come not from some fantastic defensive hits or a goal line stand – no, the biggest NFL shockers are generally offensive in nature or occur on special teams plays. The biggest NFL shockers also have the distinction of changing the outcome of a game on their own. In fact, many games are remembered by the shocking play and not for anything else in the game. Many fans even just remember the play itself and not the people who participated in the play. So just what are the biggest NFL shockers in the history of the league?
The Immaculate Reception
With just 20 seconds left in the game, Terry Bradshaw, with his team trailing 7-6, were up against a powerhouse of a team in the Raiders. Though history remembers Bradshaw and his Steelers as being a four time Super Bowl champion, at this point they were nothing. They were worse than losers – they were pond scum. The Raiders, on the other hand, were the winners of the league. They had a tradition of winning and had only missed the playoffs once in the last six years. The ball bounced off of the receiver and the defender, only to be picked up by another Steelers receiver and taken into the end zone for a touchdown. If it hadn’t happened, we might be talking about a whole different type of legacy, which is why it is one of the biggest NFL shockers.
Ernie Nevers and the Six Rushing Touchdowns
One of the most dominating performances in league history dates all the way back to Thanksgiving Day, 1929, when the Chicago Cardinals, which are now in Arizona, were playing their crosstown rival Chicago Bears. Not only did they end up drubbing their rivals 40-6, but Nevers set an NFL record of six rushing touchdowns in the game, which has never been equaled. Two other players have scored six touchdowns in a game before, not counting a quarterback throwing a touchdown reception, but no one has been able to equal Nevers’ mark of six rushing scores. In fact, Nevers also kicked the extra points that day against the Bears, meaning he scored every single point and keeps him in line as one of the biggest NFL shockers.
Mark Henderson and the Snowplow
One of the biggest NFL shockers occurred in New England in 1982 not because of a player, but because of a groundskeeper. There was so much snow in New England that year before the game that the team actually offered fans a small wage and a free ticket if they would come help shovel snow out of the stadium. The game was nothing to behold either – it was scoreless through much of it. Late in the fourth quarter, however, New England got the ball within field goal distance, but the kicker couldn’t get any traction because of all the snow. The coach called time out and called on Mark Henderson to take a tractor out onto the field and clear a spot. It wasn’t against the rules at the time, so a spot was cleared, the kicker put it through the uprights, and New England won 3-0.
The biggest NFL shockers are stories that all fans of the game tell to their family and friends, and these stories are no exception!